We examined forest structure and regeneration in a 350-ha forest dominated by Pinus sylvestris 31 yr after a wildfire in the Vienansalo wilderness, Russian Karelia. In most parts of the area, the 1969 fire was not stand replacing but had left larger trees alive so that the area generally remained forest covered. In some localities, however, all trees apparently died and distinct gaps were formed, suggesting that the fire severity varied considerably, contributing to increased variation in stand structure. Living and dead wood volumes were similar, 112 and 96 m3.ha−1, respectively. The tree species proportions of dead vs living wood indicated that prior to fire disturbance Picea was more common in the area. Regeneration was abundant (saplings, ca. 14 000 ind.ha−1, height 20 - 200 cm) and tree seedling recruitment had occurred over a long period of time. Regeneration density was highest on the mesic Vaccinium-Myrtillus forest site type, decreasing towards nutrient-poor site types. The most common regeneration microsites were level ground (56% of saplings), immediate surroundings of decayed wood (23%) and depressions (11%). The high proportion of saplings on level ground suggests that after the fire regeneration conditions have been favourable across the whole forest floor. Nevertheless, the areas in the vicinity of decayed wood have been particularly important microsites for seedling establishment. The results provide an example of the effects of wildfire on forest structure in a natural Pinus sylvestris dominated forest, demonstrating the non stand replacing character of fire, high variability in stand structure and the abundance of post-fire regeneration.
Nomenclature: Hämet-Ahti et al. (1986).
Abbreviations: CV = Coefficient of variation; CWD = Coarse woody debris; ECT = Empetrum-Calluna type; EVT = Empetrum-Vaccinium type; GOMT = Geranium-Oxalis-Myrtillus type; VMT = Vaccinium-Myrtillus type.